Two Kenosha residents honored for their heroic I-94 rescue

Racine County Sheriff's Office holds annual Awards Ceremony
Kaitlin Aken and Jessica Cortes.jpg
Posted at 10:15 AM, Jun 04, 2024

RACINE — Kenosha’s Kaitlin Aken and Jessica Cortes were presented with lifesaving honors at the recent Racine County Sheriff’s Office Awards Ceremony.

The good Samaritans assisted at the scene of a three-car crash this fall on I-94 at the Elm Road exit in Caledonia.

When they saw someone was still in the car and in dire need of help, they reacted.

“I remember just seeing him unconscious and just thinking we need to get him ok,” Aken said. “Get him to a point where he’s breathing, and his heart is pumping.

“I know a lot of people didn’t want to take him out of the car, but we knew that was really important because his pulse was fading, and we needed to get him going again.”

Aken and Cortes pulled the man from his vehicle and took turns performing CPR. An off-duty paramedic also pulled over to help before emergency crews arrived.

“It felt like forever,” Aken said. “Like 10 to 15 minutes maybe. Maybe it was just 5 minutes, but it felt like forever. We were assessing the scene, getting him out.”

Two Racine County Sheriff’s Office deputies and nearby rescue took over. First responders regained the man’s pulse. He was rushed to the hospital and survived.

“You never know what happened in the accident,” Jessica Cortes said. “You don’t know if there’s children or if they’re not breathing. My advice for people, is if you can stop, stop. You never know. You could save someone’s life.”